President Muhammadu Buhari said Tuesday the remnants of Boko Haram in the North-east region of the country are bandits and that the federal government would continue to treat them as such.
The president said this at the State House in Abuja while receiving President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Mr Peter Maurer.
“Boko Haram has been degraded, but its members are still a nuisance around Lake Chad and surrounding islands.
“That is why we are cooperating with Chad, Cameroon, Niger Republic, and other countries. We are also using the Air Force quite effectively. They are bandits, and we will continue to treat them as such,” he said.
The president said the government was concentrating on repairing damaged infrastructure, rehabilitation of internally displaced persons, securing their communities so that they can return home.
He applauded the support of the ICRC and other humanitarian organizations.
“The situation of the displaced persons is very pathetic. Some children don’t know where their parents are, neither do they know where they come from.
“We are focusing on education and healthcare, along with rebuilding of infrastructure. The agency formerly under the leadership of Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (retd) and now headed by Major-General Paul Tarfa (retd) is quietly making an impression. We are dedicating lots of resources to the area,” he said.
The president said the great progress has equally been made in disabusing the minds of people that the insurgency was religious.
“How can you kill people, and say ‘God is great.’ It’s either you don’t know that God, or you don’t know what you are talking about. God is God of justice. And the people have
understood the message well, so recruiting is now difficult for the insurgents,” he said.
Also speaking, the president of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Mr Peter Maurer, said Nigeria was the 5th largest operation of ICRC worldwide.
He said the ICRC would continue to render humanitarian action to people affected by violence.
“We are shaken by the killing of our staff, but not discouraged. Humanitarian assistance should continue, and we applaud the hospitality of Nigeria,” he said.
He said the relationship would be further strengthened with Nigeria, saying “the more we see activity from Nigerian authorities, the easier it is for us to add here and there.”